Cots has today released her new video for the track titled ‘Our Breath’. While I feel that technology will never catch up to creativity, because, well, it fuels technology. Anyway, it comes damn close with the new video for ‘Our Breath’. Maybe more of a fusion, per se.
What we get is a moving canvas of wonder picture perfect, frame by frame, of a song that is as delicately dark as it is bitingly beautiful. ‘Our Breath’ is a peek into a time that I hop comes next year. That perfect moment where the decade is defined in the era of music. Not by genre or style. But by imagination.
‘Disturbing Body’ is out now via Boiled Records on vinyl and digital formats.
‘Disturbing Body’, the intimate debut album by Cots, paints a celestial portrait of lost love and consequence. “Evoking strong memories of Feist’s Let It Die-era softness,” CBC Music remarked that “Disturbing Body feels like a meditation on loneliness and the complexities of the heart … a secret told from Cots to you only.” The solo project of Montreal/Guelph composer, singer, and guitarist Steph Yates blends elements of bossa nova, folk, jazz, and classical against a cosmic backdrop – connecting earthbound romance to the gravitational pull of planets.
On album centrepiece “Our Breath,” her oblique poetry suggests the mystery of a secret hymn, of “a person carrying with them what they need and finding access to it in difficult moments,” Yates said. Released today, the song’s 3D animated music video by director Jenn E. Norton articulates this emotional stealthiness, merging a blob-like Yates into a gelatinous otherworldly landscape of oil-slicked swans and lightning bolt fractals. Norton’s video spotlights the album’s nocturnal, experimental palette, showcasing producer Sandro Perri’s enclosed use of space, a subtle warble on Yates’s rich vocals, her nylon guitar flooded, just barely, with distortion and flanged hand drums.
‘I love that Cots draws upon the language of physics to look at relationships. Theoretical physicist David Bohm once said that thought was a material process, a subtle movement of matter travelling through minds via neurons and synapses. “[…]there is no sharp division between thought, emotion and matter. You see that they flow into each other.” When I listen to Cots’s album Disturbing Body, I get a sense of an in-betweenness, becoming and unravelling in the lyrical ruminations. I wanted to represent this in a viscous, gooey state in which everything is permeable, where thoughts rippled and melted in and out of shape.’Jenn E. Norton
Sparked by her fascination with mathematics’ vast poetic potential, and the power of celestial mechanics, Disturbing Body explores the unexplainable interactions of interstellar bodies and human beings alike. The title – inspired by the phrase for a planet whose gravitational pull alters another planet’s course – speaks similarly to the disruptive nature of love.
“I find it strange, unsettling, mysterious; how incalculable the experience of feeling drawn to someone is,” Yates says. “Human bodies are like celestial ones; just as a planet’s course is carved out in relation to others, our course – where we go and what we do – is compelled by forces of attraction.”
Disturbing Body found its rhythm over four cosy days in Guelph at The Cottage studio, run by Canadian veteran recording artist and engineer Scott Merritt. The result saw her crystalline vocals and intricate guitar entwined with Perri’s atmospheric arrangements for Blake Howard (percussion), Josh Cole (bass guitar), Ryan Brouwer (trumpet), Karen Ng (saxophone), Thomas Hammerton (keyboards), and Perri himself (synths, samples, field recordings).
Across Disturbing Body’s disparate touchpoints and searching melodies – somewhere between the stars and earthly interactions alike – Cots intersects, and starts to make a whole lot of sense. “A cot is a solitary, introspective, and dreamy space. It’s temporary too, suggesting liminality, moving on, passing through. It’s something you leave behind.”
Cots will join Canadian singer-songwriter Tim Baker on a string of dates through Ontario this month.